The L & D Food Mix

I’ve been reading recently about the relationship between marketing and learning and development, particularly in regards to the use of marketing strategies to encourage engagement with L & D functions.

I came across a great idea proposed by Ann Handley in her book “Content Rules” that revolves around the idea of content “food groups” that allow content marketers to achieve a balanced content diet.

So how can we use it in L & D to engage our learners?


Who doesn’t love a big hearty roast dinner? Roasts are large piece of content. Face-to-face sessions, comprehensive guides, and manuals. The big, labour intensive pieces we create. A roast dinner is made up of a number of different parts that can stand up on their own. Think of the large training pieces being produced and see if it can be split into smaller sections to ease digestion and allow for dipping in the day after, like a wonderful roast chicken sandwich.

Raisin Bran

We’ve got to keep things regular right? Raisin bran is simple, consistent and easy to consume. Job aids, checklists, cheat-sheets and blogs are all great examples of raisin bran training. This is training that can be consumed daily at point-of need. It keeps things regular and can help to engage our learners on a daily basis.


Eat your greens! Spinach is packed with valuable nutrients, as our training should be for a balanced, healthy diet. Spinach content is packed with information that is useful for our learners. Spinach for me is like a great eLearning scenario that encourages company expected behaviours, it keeps the learner healthy in the workplace.

Chocolate cake

Who doesn’t love a treat every now and then? Chocolate cake content is fun and light-hearted. Think infographics, quizzes and short, fun videos. This helps to keep our learners engaged. Yes, I know L and D is serious business, but down people learn more when they enjoy the experience?

Tabasco Sauce

Finally, a bit of spice! Tabasco sauce learning content challenges expectations. It asks the hard questions and promotes discussion. I often find that social learning needs the most tabasco sauce. Opposing points of view, new theories and challenging the norms can all be great ways to add some spice!

All in all, my research has shown that L and D teams can learn a lot from effective marketing strategies, particularly those surrounding content marketing. I would encourage L and D professionals everywhere to get a handle on content marketing and structures in order to truly engage your learners.

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